Nokia 3: Best Budget Smartphone? [Unboxing + Review]
4 months ago
Nokia is back. Actually, it came back in February but I just like to keep repeating that and letting other people know, because it’s for real.
Nokia was ridiculed and no one expected it to rise again in the smartphone industry, especially since it ditched Android and it was impossible for any phone to survive if it wasn’t running either Android or iOS. Then came the news of HMD acquiring Nokia and rumors came forward that they would launch Nokia branded Android phones. Fast forward to February 2017 and we have the Nokia 3, 5 and 6.
We got our hands on a review unit of the Nokia 3 as soon as it launched in Pakistan and here’s what we think of it.
Review in Urdu
Design and Build Quality
Holding the phone in the hand for the first time I was pleasantly surprised at the weight. It wasn’t too heavy nor too light, but just right. It gave the phone a more premium feel. Although you have a plastic back, the frame of the phone is actually made of metal and that gives the phone its weight.
On the back you will find the primary camera, LED flash and Nokia branding. Moving on to the front you have your 5-inch screen on top of which you’ll find the secondary camera, earpiece and various sensors. At the bottom of the display you have your 3 back, home and recent apps capacitive keys. On the right side of the phone there’s the volume rocker and the power button whereas at the bottom of the phone you get the microUSB port and a loudspeaker. The SIM card and microSD card slots area available on the left side of the phone.
The display is a 5-inch IPS LCD panel having a resolution of 720×1280 pixels. While it’s not the sharpest screen resolution available, you’ll hardly notice the difference in day to day usage and that too on a 5-inch screen. Being an IPS panel, the viewing angles are great too.
Brightness is good too and the screen is visible even in direct sunlight. In fact the brightness is so high, you can’t use the phone in complete darkness even with it at the lowest settings.
Looking at the spec list for the first time, I thought that the performance of the Nokia 3 might be its achilles heel. But as I started using the phone, I soon found out that it was only on paper. Let’s get the numbers out of the way first. The Nokia 3 runs a MediaTek MT6737 processor that is clocked at 1.4GHz and has 4 cores. Along with this you also get 2GB of RAM.
Sure, the benchmarks of the Nokia 3 came out to be what I expected, but the performance was not what I had expected. The Nokia 3 runs very smoothly and handles everything that is thrown at it like a champ. Applications open in decent time and switching between apps without reloading them each time is also no problem for the Nokia 3. Even poorly optimized apps such as Facebook managed to run quite well.
However, there were times when applications as simple as Google Maps refused to load or work properly. I noticed this only at times when I felt the phone was hot to the touch and the CPU was throttling to keep it cool. Other than that, the phones ran smoothly.
Nokia 3 features a 8MP primary camera alongside an LED flash. It’s got an f/2.0 aperture too. At the front you also get an 8MP camera.
The camera on the Nokia 3 suffers the same issues that other budget smartphones face. The camera on the Nokia 3 performs very decently in daylight situations and even exceeded some of my expectations. Colors are accurate and not over saturated. However, once you start moving towards low light conditions, sharpness and picture quality decreases drastically. You are also greeted with a lot of noise in the final images. The front camera’s performance is also the same.
On the software side of things, the Nokia 3 is running Android 7.0 with, thankfully, no custom skin on top. The phone is pure is stock Android. This means that the RAM management is excellent and the overall performance of the phone is not let down by lackluster software that is often available on phones of the same price range. Running stock Android also means that the Nokia 3 will receive faster updates than most other phones in this segment.
The battery on the Nokia 3 is a not-so-impressive 2,630mAh. However, given the screen size and resolution and the low-end specs, it should perform well. And it did. During my usage I wasn’t able to drain it completely in a day. It lasted a whole day with about 15% battery life remaining and around 4.5 hours of Screen-on Time. Given the fact that I was using both Wi-Fi and 4G, doing benchmarks, testing out games and taking photos, it performed decently for a battery of this size.
Connectivity and Storage
The Nokia 3 in Pakistan has dual SIM slots, both of which support 4G. The internal storage is limited to just 16GB. But it is expandable up to 256GB thanks to a dedicated microSD card slot.
The Nokia 3 is only the beginning and one of Nokia’s first Android smartphones. Given the price, it does have its shortcomings. The camera and battery are areas where it struggles. On the flip side, you get excellent build quality, stock Android software that will get fast updates and most importantly the branding of Nokia on the phone, which in my opinion is going to be selling point of this phone.
The Nokia 3 is available for a price of Rs. 16,900/- in Pakistan.